Belarusian food exports to be priced in US Dollars
On December 3rd, the Agriculture Ministry set the recommended minimum export prices for dairy and meat products in US Dollars.
The devaluation of the Russian rouble has lead to losses for Belarus when exporting foods stuffs to Russia and making settlements in roubles. Belarus is expected to reduce exports of meat and dairy products to Russia, which will lead to growing stocks in the food industry, reducing imports of raw milk to Belarus for processing, and falling prices on the domestic market due to increased competition. If Russia complains about Belarus charging for her exports in US Dollars, Belarus may offer to pay for natural gas, oil and oil products in Russian roubles.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.